GORAKHPUR: The deaths of scores of children in a Gorakhpur hospital have put the focus on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) but these deadly diseases have been creating havoc in Uttar Pradesh and other states for years.
As per the data on the website of the Directorate of National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), since January 1 to August 13 this year, 1208 cases of AES have been reported in UP, and of these, 152 resulted in the death of the patient.
In the same period, 112 cases of JE were reported in which three lives were lost, the data says.
According to the data, another state which has been badly affected is Assam where 1534 cases of AES were reported, and 128 patients lost their lives. The state reported 482 cases of JE of which 67 resulted in death, as per the data.
According to the additional director (health), Dr Pushkar Anand, 139 deaths that mostly included children have been reported from the paediatric ward of State-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College this year in UP.
Six cases of deaths were reported from August 12 to August 14, he added.
In UP, the most severely affected districts are Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Basti, Siddharthanagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Deoria and Mau.
NVBDCP data reveals that in 2010, UP reported 3540 cases of AES, which claimed 494 lives. JE saw 325 cases being reported in that year, and 59 lives were lost. Similarly in 2011, 579 deaths in 3492 cases of AES were reported, while JE claimed 27 lives out of 224 cases.
In 2012, a year that saw a change of government in the state, 3484 cases of AES were reported and 557 patients died, while 139 cases of JE and 23 deaths were also reported. The AES death toll breached the 600 mark for the first time in 2013. 609 out of 3096 cases reported resulted in deaths.
JE deaths too crossed the 40-figure-mark in the same year with 47 deaths reported in 281 cases.
In 2014, out of the 3329 AES cases reported, there were deaths, while for JE it was 34 deaths out of 191 cases. In 2015, as many as 479 lives were lost due to AES of which 2894 cases were reported. JE claimed 42 lives from the 351 reported cases, according to the official data.
In 2016, 3919 cases of AES were reported in which 621 lives were lost. The death toll due to JE stood at an all time high of 73 out of 410 cases reported.
Apart from UP, this year, AES and JE deaths were reported from Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Odisha and West Bengal. In Bihar, 29 AES deaths were reported from 66 cases reported, while 7 JE deaths were reported out of 19 cases. Manipur saw 6 AES and 6 JE deaths. As many as 690 AES cases were reported, while 141 JE cases were reported in the state.
In Odisha, 10 AES deaths out of 473 cases were reported. However no death due to JE took place in the state, although 13 cases were reported. In West Bengal, 81 AES deaths took place out of 826 cases reported this year, while 10 JE deaths were reported out of 37 cases reported.
Overall, 5926 cases of AES have been reported in the country till August 13 this year, of which 406 deaths have been reported. The country also witnessed 93 JE deaths this year out of 903 cases reported in the same period.
Speaking to PTI, Dr R N Singh, who has been working in the field of prevention of encephalitis said that until and unless, there is a complete ban on open defecation and installation of India Mark handpumps, the disease cannot be eradicated.
Singh said that there is illiteracy and backwardness in east UP. "Because of lack of awareness in the region, eastern UP has become a hub of communicable diseases." Following several deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital, AES and JE have come under national spotlight.
On August 13, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that exemplary action would be taken against those found responsible for the scores of deaths at the state government run hospital.
The Union government has announced the setting up of a regional medical centre at a cost of Rs 85 crore in Gorakhpur for research into children's diseases.